Gettin’ jazzed: fundraiser for Rowan Blues and Jazz Society

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
The second in a series of fundraisers for a jazz festival sponsored by the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society drew a good crowd Friday night.
The event was held in the black box theater at Looking Glass Artist Collective, 405 N. Lee St.
“It was overcast, but I still thought it went well,” Eleanor Qadirah said. “It’s like I’ve told people, it’ll give us the money to pay for another band.”
Qadirah is the organizer of the jazz festival that will be held Oct. 11 in the Salisbury Post parking lot. This marks the festival’s 10th year, but an economic downturn has caused several business sponsors to cut their support.
Despite the cutbacks, Qadirah said there was never a question about the possibility of calling off the festival.
Instead, organizers turned to a trio of fundraisers, the last of which will be held Oct. 2 at the Heritage Room at 118 E. Council St. The site is part of the Easy Street walkway and the fundraiser ó which features Joe Robinson’s jazz band ó is sponsored by KKA Architecture.
“All along, I intended the festival to be by the people, for the people,” Qadirah said. “It’s a challenge this year. We’re asking for more help from individuals.”
The three fundraisers are free, though suggested donations of $10 per person or $15 per couple are accepted at the door.
Performing at this past Friday’s fundraiser were “Blazin’ Blues” Bob Paolino, storyteller Robert Jones and jazz guitarist Jimmy Alston.
Qadirah said the fact that downtown Salisbury was celebrating a “Night Out” event this past Friday helped with turnout for the jazz group’s fundraiser. She said there was a trolley stop in front of the black box theater and a number of riders got out once they heard the music.
Qadirah said more than 190 bands have applied to perform at this year’s jazz festival. Those selected are all paid. Money is also needed, Qadirah said, for sound equipment.
“It’s an awareness,” Qadirah said of informing the public of the money needed to fund the festival. “It’s like you tell them and they go, ‘Oh, wow!’ ”